Melvin Theuma, the middleman who spilled the beans in the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination, was given a government job without even applying for it and only after a two-minute interview, Times of Malta can reveal.
Police sources have confirmed testimony that Mr Theuma gave in court in which he said he was given a tour around the Office of the Prime Minister by then chief of staff Keith Schembri. He was offered a coffee and took a photo on his mobile phone with his host.
He was then referred to Sandro Craus, the OPM’s head of customer care, and was informed about his new government job.
Mr Craus then directed Mr Theuma to the offices of the Family Affairs Ministry, in Palazzo Ferreria, Republic Street, and told him that a certain Tony Muscat would be meeting him.
Until that time, Mr Theuma did not know the location of the ministry – at the time headed by minister Michael Farrugia.
Arriving at the ministry, just down the road from Castille, Mr Theuma was met by Mr Muscat, who was at the time CEO of the Housing Maintenance and Embellishment Ltd, a government company controlled by the Family Affairs Ministry.
He was then escorted to the ministry’s boardroom and there Mr Muscat, accompanied by two still unidentified persons, told Mr Theuma that he was going to conduct a short interview.
Mr Muscat asked Mr Theuma whether he knew how to send an e-mail.
A BOV cheque was waiting for him
Mr Theuma replied that he “had an idea how to do it”.
Mr Muscat informed him that he had passed the interview and asked him to sign an employment contract.
The contract, in which Mr Theuma was employed as a messenger/driver, is now in the possession of the police.
During the brief encounter, Mr Theuma also informed Mr Muscat that he was already in employment as a taxi driver and was not able to do the work of a government driver at the same time.
However, Mr Theuma was assured that these things would be arranged at a later stage, according to a police source.
Times of Malta is informed that Mr Theuma received his first payment for a job he never performed at the end of May, just a few days before the June election.
“Mr Theuma went to Farrugia’s ministry where a BOV cheque was waiting for him,” the source said.
From then onwards, the cheque was posted to his home address without Mr Theuma ever spending a minute on his government job.
Some months following the election, without any notice, Mr Theuma stopped receiving his cheque.
Mr Muscat was a close aide of Minister Farrugia and hails from the same district that elects the doctor-politician.
Mr Muscat was on Thursday asked whether he was obeying direct orders from Minister Farrugia in the recruitment of Mr Theuma. He said he was unable to reply.
On his part, the head of the civil service, Mario Cutajar, on Thursday refused to reply to questions on whether Mr Theuma had applied for the job and who had selected him.
Set up in 2016, the Housing Maintenance and Embellishment Company – formerly a division of the Housing Authority – had a total of 12 employees by the end of 2017.
Registering a loss of €40,000, its biggest cost according to its 2017 accounts was €208,000 spent on employees’ expenses.
Company secretary Gavin Gulia, a former Labour minister and now chairman of the Malta Tourism Authority, said when contacted that he was not involved in the day-to-day running of the company and his role was limited to taking notes during board meetings, usually held every two months.